Pulp Racing is Abandoned by the Builder of its Go-Fast Cars

Honda: “Broken Con Rod? Uhhh....Not Our Problem”

Honda says this is my fault.  Your honor, I object!


Sorry for the delay in updating the website.  I was working on some "warranty issues" with the S2000, and was waiting to get that resolved before putting the story up.


You would think that after all the Honda products that I indirectly helped sell via this website, that Honda Customer Service would cut me some slack.   I mean, c’mon, I know there are a bunch of you out there that have purchased NSXs or S2000s because I wrote about the joy of driving these cars over the past nine years.  (Yes, I can say that this is the longest running web diary of “How to have fun with your cars” in the history of mankind, proven by the 100+ chapters of stories that were started back in 1995, before most of you knew what the Internet even existed!  www.nsxfiles.com was printing news about racing stories before the creation of cnn.com, msnbc.com, and drudgereport.com.  Those sites were NEWBIES back then)


But I feel like I did get treated unfairly for the first time ever by the Honda corporate bean counters.   Am I bitter?  Yeah, you could say that.  I mean, let’s look at the facts in the case.


Part of the rod sticking out


I bought my 2001 S2000 from a Honda dealer in Mesa, Arizona, sight unseen.   I had Bill Z. in Phoenix check it out for me, to make sure it was a new car, and no scratches or dents on it.  I fedexed documents/checks back and forth with Mark, the Internet sales manager, and he received the cashiers check in late January.   I paid $250 bucks to have it shipped to Huntington Beach, and it arrived the first week of February 2001 via a transporter.   I took delivery of a shiny red S2000 with the keys in my pocket, and a 3 year, 36,000 mile warranty.  But hey, why even need a warranty, it’s a Honda product, and as long as you don’t muck around with the engines, they last forever, right?


On February 7th, 2004, while under acceleration going about 50 mph at Thunderhill Raceway at a “Driver’s Ed” event, the car suddenly feels like it is in neutral.  There is no "bang" or "pow" to indicate that it was something serious.  I glide into the pit area, with smoking coming from under my front hood.  I jump out of the car, grab a fire extinguisher, pop open the hood, and spray the Halon into the engine compartment.  There is oil everywhere.  I mean everywhere.  Cars that are still on the track hit the oil that I dumped and go flying off into the dirt.  Not sure what happened.  Looks like the oil pan was cracked.  Perhaps the flywheel/clutch blew up.   Damn.  I guess I will drop it off at Autowave, and have them check it out, since they are around the corner from my shop.  Since I am uhhh...a busy guy, I don't drop it off for a few days.  I have them take a look at it, and they said, "Bad news.  You have what looks like a connecting rod sticking out of your motor".  WHAT? This is bad.  A couple of days later, I finally drop the car off at Costa Mesa Honda, and have them take a look at it.  They do a quick inspection, and they said that it does not appear to be an over rev, but it appears that the connecting rod broke into three pieces due to "fatigue".


The "District Service Manager" comes and takes a look at my S2000.  After his inspection, he denies fixing the motor/tranny, saying through the local service folks that, "This car has been on the race track.  Warranty denied".   Huh?  I mean, they include an Sports Car Club of America brochure in the car when you buy one.  They ENCOURAGE you push your car to the limit.


I fax a letter to Honda Customer service, stating that since the car does not appear to be over revved, it was not low on oil, and the car was serviced 100 miles by Honda Costa Mesa before the "connecting rod failure", I don't think it was my fault that it broke, and it should be covered under warranty.  I mean, I've blown up engines before, and I've sucked it up and paid to fix it, as I know it was my fault due to grabbing a wrong gear on a downshift, or uh....other dumb things.  But this time, I don't feel my driving style, or ANYONE'S driving style can cause a connecting rod to fail.  It is a stock motor.  Me thinks something might be wrong with said connecting rod.  Even more curious that Honda didn't want to at least take apart the engine so they can examine the rod that failed.


The Honda Customer service representative received my fax, and responded in a day or so, saying that my warranty was denied because:

1.  I was technically out of warranty by three weeks from the time I brought the car to them.  (They counted from the time that the check was fedexed to them, to the time I brought the broken car to the dealer)


2.  This car was driven hard, "Over the legal speed limit of the highway", which they do not warranty.


And my reply on this webpage is:

1.  I bought the car over the Internet from Mesa Honda in AZ.  I sent them a fedexed check on January 25th, 2001.

2.  They shipped the car to me the next week, around February 2nd, 2001

3.  The car blew up on February 7th, 2003, which to me is about 3 years,  and 5 days after I was given the keys to the car.  So I feel it was out of warranty by 5 days.  Which technically I guess they don't have to cover it.  But hey, 5 days outta warranty, and they feel I should have to pay for a new engine/tranny/clutch/oil pan entirely on my own?  Is that fair?


2.  As for the "over the segal speed limit" argument,  Honda puts an SCCA brochure in every new Honda S2000 that is purchased, encouraging people to have "fun" with their car at SCCA events.  Most of which I am sure go over the stated speed limit.  And uh...don't they sell these cars in Germany, where there is no speed limit?  How's that work?


Oil pan has a hole in it


Anyways, all that is left is for you loyal readers to fax a letter to Honda Customer Service saying how you can't believe that they are trying to cheat Hayashi out of a item seems like it should be covered under warranty, albeit 5 days too late.  The fax number is:  310-783-3785, my case # is N042004-02-2000510.  I figure if I can get a hundred or so faxes going into the Honda Customer Service department, they will at least know that people all over the U.S. know about my "problem" and that it seems like Honda is trying to weasel out of taking responsibility for the connecting rod failure.  Please don't use any cuss words, as that probably doesn't help the cause any.   Title your fax to be something like:


Fax to Honda Customer Service - Jeff Swedlund
Honda not standing behind their products?

Case #N0242004-02-2000510 Hayashi

And then give them a brief paragraph IN YOUR OWN WORDS about how you can't believe that they wouldn't stand behind their product, albeit 5 days out of warranty from time of delivery to time of connecting rod failure.  I figure if I can get a couple of hundred faxes sent from all over the country sent to their customer service department (even better if some of you guys outside of America can send in a fax) so that Honda knows that a bunch of people now know that they have screwed me over.  I figure I'll get about 20,000 or so hits to the website from all the publicity about the Open Track Challenge over the next week.  I will be posting daily updates about the five day event.  C'mon, help me out, send those faxes in!  The quicker I get the S2000 running again, the quicker I can put more stories up!

For right now, it looks like my Honda will sit parked at my shop, minus a working powertrain, until $8000-$10000 falls out of the sky so I can fix it.


Looks like I will pass on purchasing a new 2004 Honda S2000, or any new Honda for that matter.  I'll probably move over to Toyota powered vehicles.  I hear an S2000 killer is coming out soon....very soon.


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